MCSE Private Cloud Re-certification Exam – Skills Measured – Part 3: Configure and Maintain Service Management

As you may know, I have obtained my Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) specifically in the solution area of Private Cloud. When you obtain a Microsoft Certification, there are some certifications that have an expiry date, meaning that to maintain a certification you need to re-certify. This is the case that I am in with my MCSE Private Cloud. I received an email from Microsoft indicating that the Recertification exam is now available.

Since I plan to take this recertification exam, I thought it would be helpful to go through each of the Skills Measured, and include some examples. Not only will this help me review the material I already know, and brush up on the areas that I need more experience with.

I figured that I would break this into a series, covering each of the higher-level categories/areas and their sub topics.

So, to start let’s cover the third category: Configure and Maintain Service Management.

 

3.0 – Configure and Maintain Service Management

3.1 – Implement Service Level Management

  • Define service level objectives (SLOs) and service level agreements (SLAs)
  • Implement SLA management and escalation
  • Maintain SLAs, including planning for future growth; analyze SLAs (reporting)

 

3.1.1 – Define Service Level Objectives (SLOs) and Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Service Level Objectives are mainly an Operations Manager (SCOM) element.

Here are some useful links on SCOM SLOs:

Monitoring Service Level Objectives by Using Operations Manager: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/library/hh212753.aspx

Defining a Service Level Objective Against an Application: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/library/hh230719.aspx

Creating a Service Level Dashboard: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/library/hh212692.aspx

You can monitor things like: Performance, Availability, Reliability, and Response Time.

SCOM Service Level Tracking

 

For Service Level Agreements (SLAs), that is mainly a Service Manager (SCSM) element. Think about it in the context of “how fast an Incident is resolved”, or something along those lines.

Here are some useful links on SCSM SLAs:

SCSM 2012: Service Level Management: http://blogs.technet.com/b/servicemanager/archive/2012/01/25/scsm-2012-service-level-management.aspx

Service Manager 2012 and Service Level Management: http://blogs.technet.com/b/privatecloud/archive/2013/03/26/service-manager-2012-and-service-level-management-part-1.aspx

Configuring Service Level Management in System Center 2012 – Service Manager: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh519724.aspx

How to Create SLA Metrics: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh519571.aspx

SCSM Metric

 

3.1.2 – Implement SLA Management and Escalation

Similarly tied to Service Manager (SCSM), you can leverage Workflows to manage SLAs and send escalations.

Alternatively, you can leverage Orchestrator (SCORCH) to monitor Service Manager items (i.e. Work Items) to react to them (i.e. escalations).

 

3.1.3 – Maintain SLAs, Including Planning for Future Growth

To maintain SLAs, you can create Worflows, Runbooks, and Notifications to ensure people are alerted to potential SLA breaches, and therefore are able to take necessary action.

 

3.1.4 – Analyze SLAs (Reporting)

There are several reports in Service Manager (SCSM) that help to analyze SLAs, including Incident KPIs, Resolution metrics, etc.

SCSM Reports - Incident Management

SCSM Reports - Service Management

 

 

3.2 – Manage Problems and Incidents

  • Customize problem management, link incidents to problems, and resolve problems
  • Raise, assign, and resolve incidents
  • Perform root cause analysis/diagnosis
  • Integrate problem and incident resolution with change management
  • Create and manage a knowledge base

 

3.2.1 – Customize Problem Management, Link Incidents to Problems, and Resolve Problems

When you create a new Incident, or open an existing one, in the Tasks pane on the right, there is an option to ‘Link Problem’.

SCSM Incident Form

For linking Incidents to Problems, there is a setting that you can enable (under Administration > Settings > Incident Settings), where you can configure if Child Incidents are auto-resolved.

SCSM Incident Settings

Similarly, when you look at the Problem Form, on the Resolution tab, there is a checkbox to “Auto-resolve all incidents associated with this problem”.

SCSM Problem Form

 

3.2.2 – Raise, Assign, and Resolve Incidents

Incidents in Service Manager (SCSM) can be generated (or “raised”) through multiple methods, not limited to: SCOM Alerts, Orchestrator Runbooks, Self-Service Portal, etc.

To accomplish either of these, you would need the SCSM-to-SCOM Connector, or Orchestrator Integration Packs to monitor files, folders, Alerts, Incidents, etc. or a Server Request and Service Offering for portal submissions.

Here are some useful links on these subjects:

How to Create a System Center Operations Manager Connector: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh524325.aspx

Importing Data and Alerts from System Center Operations Manager: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh524270.aspx

System Center 2012 Self-Study Guide (Part 6 – Orchestrator and Service Manager): http://blogs.technet.com/b/musings_of_a_technical_tam/archive/2012/06/28/system-center-2012-self-study-guide-part-6-orchestrator-and-service-manager.aspx

 

3.2.3 – Perform Root Cause Analysis/Diagnosis

In Service Manager (SCSM), you can leverage the Analysis Library. This will allow you to use OLAP data cubes and create very detailed reports and dashboards.

Here are some useful links on this feature.

How to Use the Analysis Library: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh495596.aspx

How to Manage the Analysis Libraries: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh519577.aspx

How to create an Incident Dashboard using Excel in System Center 2012 SP1 – Service Manager (SCSM) 2012: http://blogs.technet.com/b/antoni/archive/2013/05/18/how-to-create-an-incident-dashboard-using-excel-in-system-center-2012-sp1-service-manager-scsm-2012.aspx

3.2.4 – Integrate Problem and Incident Resolution with Change Management

In Service Manager (SCSM) when you create a Change Request work item, there is a tab for Related Items. Within here, you can link various other work items, like Incidents and Problem, to the Problem item.

SCSM Change Form

Also,on the Incident/Problem form in the Tasks list on the right, there is a direct link to ‘Create Change Request’. Provided that the Incident or Problem has been saved, this action will automatically link it to a new Change Request.

 

3.2.5 – Create and Manage a Knowledge Base

The knowledge base feature is a part of Service Manager (SCSM), under Library > Knowledge. Here you can have ratings, keywords/tags, and categories.

SCSM Knowledge Article Form

 

 

3.3 – Manage Cloud Resources

  • Deploy new applications to private and public clouds
  • Deploy virtual machine (VM)/service (applications, SQL, roles), deploy multi-tier applications by using service templates, manage applications in private and public clouds, manage VM hardware (CPUs, dynamic memory), manage self service

 

3.3.1 – Deploy New Applications to Private and Public Clouds

To be able to deploy between the Private and the Public cloud, you can leverage App Controller, which of course uses VMM.

AppC-Overview

If you are not using App Controller, you can use VMM itself, by connecting it to your Azure subscription. It does require that you have UR6 installed.

SCVMM - Azure Sub

 

3.3.2 – Deploy Virtual Machine (VM)/Service (applications, SQL, roles), Deploy Multi-Tier Applications by Using Service Templates, Manage Applications in Private and Public Clouds, Manage VM Hardware (CPUs, dynamic memory), Manage Self Service

Note: I’m not sure if this item is actually supposed to be divided in to smaller portions. I divide the sections based on where the semicolon (;) appears in the listing.

The majority of these items are accomplished through Virtual Machine Manager (VMM). There is a lot of information that these includes relates to.

Here are some links to additional information.

Creating Virtual Machine Templates in VMM: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/library/bb963734.aspx

How to Create a Virtual Machine Template: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/library/hh427282.aspx

Creating Profiles and Templates in VMM: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/library/hh368987.aspx

Creating Service Templates in VMM: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/library/gg675105.aspx

How to Create a Host or a Physical Computer Profile to Provision a Hyper-V Host in VMM: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/library/gg610653.aspx

Guest OS Profiles in System Center 2012 SP1 VMM: Build Your Private Cloud (Series): http://blogs.technet.com/b/kevinremde/archive/2013/04/23/guest-os-profiles-in-system-center-2012-sp1-vmm-build-your-private-cloud-series.aspx

Hardware Profiles in System Center 2012 SP1 VMM: Build Your Private Cloud (Series): http://blogs.technet.com/b/kevinremde/archive/2013/04/22/hardware-profiles-in-system-center-2012-sp1-vmm-build-your-private-cloud-series.aspx

Well, that’s it for this section. Next we will review the items covered in the next Skills Measured – Part 4: Configure the Fabric.

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